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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 11, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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so there is hundreds or thousands headed by a leader to intervene because we keep obeying the orders. opening recruitment for tens of thousands of militia persons. the same thing is true for the sunni and to fight outside the constintutions and the rule of law. so this is dismantling and accepting the local or personal labor. for the program of mr. abadi yes, he is working and he is trying to make a change and we are committed to help him. keep promising without implementation we will come again -- as a country. i don't need to come again. i hope the final picture presented would come later on.
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but building nonpartisan security forces is a big goal and can be done nationwide by iraqis supported by americans. programming, training, equipment. time is important because we cannot have more time on the militia side. the yasidi problem, i am really sorry i didn't mention that simply because there's a humanitarian. i am sure because it was discussed yesterday in the topics they cover. that made me not focus on it. on the militia side, there are pro-iranian militia sides.
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i can't say there's a popular mobilization. i agree with you. definitely under the popular mobilization, some of the militia and we are talking about dismantling the criminal ones, committed to crimes. they can be accepted as part of the national guard, but my suggestion is on a personal level with dozens of people who belong to one of the regions to be integrated and find an army or national guard filled with people who are not loyal. so we can get benefit of some of the shia who were fighting definite way. this brings me back to the story of sunni participation. if our share of the government has not been in iraq. this is only one. we are talking about 1200-something generals in iraq. we have over 1000.
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that is .001 -- you can see the problem. yes, iraq is complicated and you will see it is democratic. is it really a solution? yes, there is a solution. it is an option. but there is much work to be done. thank you very much. >> governor, please. >> first, i want to talk about the distance between militia and the democratization. it is not the same of course. it is just the people who are just people and we know it is a good guys and they want to protect iraq.
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but the militia inside were organized, equipped from outside iraq. and of course we see that. there's people who are not organized in one group who is organized and they get -- in true as soon as the program between thes militia and the sunni provinces and stopped, even by this militia to overcome, all is stopped and the problems will appear between inside their militia and inside the shia provinces.
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even prime minister abadi know that problem. will face the problem and the target between that militia will be more than with the sunni after that. we are not going outside the constitution, outside the law. we are not going to -- iraq. we are going for more problems. of course, now there are shia problems, but then in the future will be shia-shia problems. i think when i'm talking about the constitution, that means we need the constitution. given more minorities when we are talking about luck, but they
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are big minorities in ninevah. for example, it would need more than 10% of the autonomy or the province. they need to get the rights inside of the constitution we need to have negotiation with them how to write the constitution. it will be in the step of creating -- i do not think he is superman. and now he did not have office come even he did not have his car. so how will he fight -- talking about one person is
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nothing. we need to know what they would give him. because the divisions to be in his commandant to fight or not. so i did not follow the names. i want to see what it is on the ground. until now, i can see all the grade -- all the world and the real actual steps was then -- was done within the borders. between the several desk central government force, in mosul there are more than 200 kilometers from and there is no divisions or no army to reach emotional from that side. so that geography, it is just
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about 20 kilometers far away from the usual, and the believe the work will be from bag dad. about democracy in iraq, the problem in the law of elections. yes, there is a democracy, but what happened is they give the authority to the big list, not to the people, and it happened from the beginning after 2003. so those people or those guys who are unfurling the authority from after 2003 -- they can offer their people. until now we see that there is no real representative to the
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people in the parliament. we know there is a representative to the real list in the parliament. and of course, we can prevent some parties and except the others. >> one last word? >> dismantling the ship will definitely end in in iraqi army that deserves partnership with america to feed it -- defeat extremism. it will only result in -- >> this will not be the last word on the subject. i think our speakers today have given you a commend this idea and the problems of iraq today and the potential for the solutions in the future. please join me in thanking masoud barzani and rafe al-issawi.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> tonight from mitch mcconnell on the state of the senate and prospects of partisanship. he spoke in boston the kennedy institute, and you can see this comments at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> tonight come at this year's consumer-electronics show, we met up with an author who says we are in a new phase of human development and through new technology we are likely to enhance the human condition. >> 2014 i think was the year of robot angst. i do not thinkk a day went by
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where i saw a story where robots worst dealing jobs than humans. the thing that i find that is a point that i think is missed a lot is that every prior revolution or advance in automation has resulted in better jobs for humans. we are really worried about the robust taking air jobs come an hour having a hard time not we are doing 200 years from now, but even 10 years from now. i think history has shown that we will figure out a way to bind with the robots to create new jobs, again, that were previously -- >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> tomorrow, robert woodson of the center for neighborhood enterprises looks at ways to reduce inner-city poverty and
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how parvati affects the crime rate -- and how poverty affects the crimea. then dan lamothe. plus, your phone calls, facebook comments come and tweets. live tuesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. as summer approaches, here is a discussion on the financial resources needed to suppress forest forest cross the yes. from today's "washington journal ," this is 40 minutes. host: it is fire season and we begin this section with how your federal tax dollars are spent by speaking with tom martin, and we will talk about the federal
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efforts in suppressing and fighting fires in the west and across the country. thanks for being with us this morning. guest: thank you. host: what is the outlook? guest: not very promising. we have read about the droughts in california. all of that puts our forest fires at great risk for catastrophic fire. the modeling that the u.s. forest service does that is typically pretty good at predicting this stuff is telling us we will have a tough year. host: let's look at some of the resources that the forest service and other agency spent last year. the total number of fires was about 63,000. the number of acres, 3.5 million. and the forest service and interior department cost
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together, $1.5 billion. when you look back in history, is that a lot comparatively? guest: it has been growing a lot. that did not set a record last year, but it was a rather modest year in 2014. over the last decade, the amount that has been put aside to fight fires has grown enormously. host: your organization is the american forest foundation. what is your principal mission? guest: we work with private land owners to protect america's forests. most of america's forests, the biggest ownership chunk is family land owners. it is not these federal agencies. it is families, 22 million people, that own about 270 million acres. host: tom martin is our guest.
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he is here to talk about the 2014 fire season and the resources used in preventing and fighting those fires. we are setting aside the lines a little differently. eastern and central time zones -- host: we will look for your comments on twitter as well. back to the issue of private land owners, the largest chunk of forest in the country owned by private land owners. when there is a major forest fighter that may start -- a forest fire that may start in a national park but leaps into private territory, who takes care of that, who does that? guest: it is a joint response. america's forests are a checkerboard. you might have a federal agency that owns forest land next to a foest owned by a state agency that owns forest land and individual owners interspersed
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in between. they will have folks working jointly with state and local firefighters as well. they try to coordinate the response because of the checkerboard nature of the forests. host: is the private land owner ever liable for costs? guest: it depends on the state law, what culpability they have good for the most part, these people pay their taxes and are contributing toward fire prevention and fire suppression. host: to show you some of the comments of thomas tidwell, the head of the forest service that testified in congress about the upcoming fire season. [video clip] >> we are predicting -- there is a 90% chance that we will not have enough money and will have to look at transferring funds.
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it is really past time and i know some of you are tired of listening to me talk about this but it is past time for us to find a solution and be able to move on and stop this destructive practice of shutting down operations in the fall to be able to transfer money. i think that it is no question that 1%, this concept of 1% of our fires should be considered natural disasters. last year, the 10 largest fires, 10 most costly fires equaled over $320 million, which really tracks with what we have been talking about. host: he is talking there about transferring funds. what is going on? guest: it is how we pay for fires on federal land. our fires on federal lands are dealt with by the department of interior or the forest service. what happens is congress appropriate some dollars to help fight those fires. and most years, those dollars are insufficient to actually fight those fires. you want to protect people's lives and homes, if you can.
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so the forest service or doi, if they have exhausted their appropriations authority, they borrow from other programs to make sure that they can continue to fight the fires. sadly, since 2002, eight years they have had to borrow from other programs, stopping those programs in their tracks so that they can protect people's homes and lives as they should. we have got to reform that system. host: "wall street journal" opinion piece by kyle dickman agrees with you. he is a firefighter who fought fires in the west and wrote, "congress can start by passing a bill already introduced that would increase the forest service's firefighting budget and require that for every dollar spent for fighting fires,
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50 cents be saved for preventing fires. fire borrowing annually cuts into the management of forest fires." guest: i think the philosophy and approach makes a lot of sense. what happens now is you take money out of these programs to prevent fires, to put out today's fire, and all you are doing is ensuring that the buildup continues and it is more likely to have a catastrophic fire in the future. right now what happens now, you take it out of those things. this has an impact for a fire in california. you feel the impact in maine. you are working with the federal government to reduce fire risk fire risk there, but they borrowed the money, and it goes to california so it is a national problem. even if it is a single fire in a big state out west, it affects all of us.
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host: we go first to reno, nevada from mark. caller: i was basically wondering why we were not investing more money in the prevention side of things. it seems like one of the challenges are the various governmental associations that own these lands, and i do not see strong cooperation between them. guest: we fund fire suppression and work very closely together. take a look at the forest service and the impact that this kind of budgeting has has had. 10 years ago, the fire budget was $600 million.
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by 2013, that became $1.6 billion, so the increasing amount allocated to fire has eaten up other programs. at one point, it was 13%. look at the early 1990's, 13% is now 50% of the fire service budget. their ability to respond has been decreased as they spend more and more on suppression and have fewer dollars left to treat landscapes to make sure that they were more resilient against fire. host: gabriel is in durham north carolina. good morning. caller: good morning. i wanted to address one thing that i thought was really important. i know not all wildfires are caused as a result of human interaction, but i really think that a huge issue to look at and consider is the massive amount of additional things and factors that must be considered when you look at the human population in these areas. it contributes to the fires themselves.
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there is weather constraints and other things, but what things are being done at this point to limit things like smoking or people's fire pits or certain things that they do within their area that would exacerbate a forest fire in the first place? guest: thankfully, smokey bear has been around since the 1950's and has been one of the most successful campaigns in dealing with fire issues. more importantly is we think about reducing fire risk. it is talking to land owners whether they are public or private, about what they can do on their land to ensure that if we have a fire it is not a catastrophic one. it is not one that puts homes and lives at risk. one of our biggest issues frankly is the amount of people that want to live in a forest. it is beautiful, great views but it puts you at real risk to wildfire.
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that has made fighting fires more expensive and more critical. we have got to figure out ways to ensure that family land owners manage their land in such a way to reduce fire risk overall. i am happy to say there are some great efforts going on right now. we are working in oregon with the nature conservancy, talking to public and private land owners about what they can do on their land to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire. i think it is efforts like that that will ensure that even if somebody does drop a cigarette by mistake or a fire gets away from folks that we have the ability to have control of the fire, have the fire happen in a way that it does not do lasting damage. host: you mentioned the number of homes that are moving into areas that are more fire prone. the headline in the minnesota
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post, a billion-dollar wildfire season looms with new homes sprouting in its path. what number of americans live in fire-prone areas? guest: i do not know the exact amount of folks. one way is to take a look at private land owners. they often are in that space between urban and suburban areas and big federal forests. if you take a look at how risky is what they are facing, and you look at over a third of those folks who are rated at high risk for catastrophic fire. in that mixed zone between urban and suburban areas and the backcountry, more and more risk to homes, families, and the health of the forest. host: here is philip in newport news, virginia. caller: hey, tom martin. i just have a question.
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you said that there is 22 million people that own that 270 million acres. i'm trying to understand why we have to actually come out of pocket with our expenses when there is 22 million people that own those 270 million acres. i'm pretty sure they are part of the 1%-ers. why are we coming out federally when we already have to pay for medicare and social security etc.? that does not make any sense to me at all. 22 million people, 270 million acres of land. i am pretty sure they can afford it. what do you think? guest: i think that is a great question. the good news is the federal government pays to fight fires on federal lands. the state and local folks respond there, so we are not paying as federal taxpayers for fighting fires on private land. we are paying for fighting it on public land. sometimes, those public land fires jump over onto private
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land. they start on a public land and go there. i think all of us have a stake in ensuring that if that happens we ought to step up and help prevent further damage. i think your point is well taken. the federal government should take care of itself. sadly, it is not doing that. it is underappropriating dollars and then when they find out it is not enough, they are taking from the programs that prevent future fires. they are taking from the programs who let folks like you and i enjoyed the federal forests. i think your point is well taken. host: they cut smokey the bear's budget? guest: no question. host: jodi says, just keep your matches in your pocket california. there is no water to put out the fires.
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guest: the bigger problem is the lack of thinning that is going on in many landscapes. there are ways to ensure that when there is a fire it is not a catastrophic one, and a lot of that is removing excess fuel that happens to be in a fire zone. that is the kind of work that the forest service and other land managers, public and private, both want to do on their land. unfortunately, the public land managers have a hard time doing it when the fire budget blows through its cap and the dollars come from these projects that would actually thin the forest and reduce risk. host: bob in st. paul, minnesota. caller: this is bob from minnesota. i finally achieved my dream as a retired zookeeper but actually never retired, and got an 80- acre spread north of the twin
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cities where people could come and see a living zoo, meaning no bars. after a few fires sort of threatened my 80 acres, i thought, holy cow, i do not know what i will do because the fire department was quite a distance away and quite small. i'm sure they would try, but i ended up chickening out, getting out of there, and now i just go around and give programs for kids at schools. host: bob answers the question. is this mostly a west coast concern? guest: it is not a west coast concern. happen are all over the country. -- the 60,000 fires out there happen are all over the country. for a guy like bob, my family owns 200 acres just over the border in wisconsin northeast of st. paul. so bob, i understand your risk.
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there are programs that can help folks manage their land to reduce fire risk and meet other goals. if you are a deer hunter, we can help you do that. there's a program called the american tree farm system. 80,000 folks in america and it gives land owners information to be better stewards of the land. i would not wait for the fire to start to call the fire department. i would start thinking about it when things are good, thinking about what you can do in your forest now to reduce the impact of a fire, should it happen, to make your forest more resilient against fire. host: lynn is in the high desert in bishop, california. host: lynn is in the high desert in bishop, california. caller: i have a business in the middle of the international forest. they do not manage land like they used to. they have taken away grazing. they have taken away a lot of timber harvest rights.
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if you fly over the great national park of yosemite, there is so much dead timber in their -- in there. when you talk about all the different people that keep you from doing anything, there is a lot of environmental groups out there that do not want the grazing or the timber harvesting , so it is a whole problem with land management. they are just waiting until catastrophic things happen instead of managing the land to prevent it. when there is a forest fire, it costs billions of dollars because every single agency within 200 miles shows up. you have sheriffs from whatever neighboring county lines there are, you have the epa come in to test the air quality -- which is completely ridiculous because a couple years ago there was a massive fire and we lived in
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smoke for about a month. there is nothing the epa is going to do. the way that all these different agencies put their name on these fires to fight these fires, it costs billions of dollars and the ability to manage the land to harvest the timber is going away. host: thank you for your perspective. guest: lynn, i agree that we absolutely have to figure out ways to work collectively to help prevent forest fires, to help reduce the risk. we are seeing conservation groups step up and help lead some of that stuff so for instance, in the denver watershed, it is the upper south platte river which is the biggest part of the drinking water supply for denver. they have had some horrific fires there. it has really played havoc with their treatment system. they said instead of fighting a big fire and having that
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enormous cost, let's work collectively with private and public land managers to treat the forest now and hopefully make the forest more resilient against future fire. that is being led by denver water, by the nature conservancy, the national resource confirmation service, and we at the american forest foundation are helping do that . yazidi confluence of interest -- you see the confluence of interest between groups, public land managers, and the companies that have joined them. i think it is that kind of partnership that will give us success in the future. host: how successful have burn management programs been? guest: they have been pretty successful in much of the country, particularly in the southeast. we restore the landscape to the lower intensity fires that
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actually create habitat for threatened and endangered species, even as they reduce catastrophic fire risk. we see fire use as a tool to prevent catastrophic fire. there are those kinds of low intensity, prescribed burns that make a difference. unfortunately, when the borrowing happens in budgets, like what happened in the fourth -- forest service when the suppression budget takes money away from other things, the joint activities between the federal, state, and local officials falls off the table as the money is diverted to fight fires. host: let's hear from david in conway, massachusetts. hello there. caller: thank you for taking my call. i think we can all agree that stewardship of the land is very important. also, there is a lot of biodiversity out there that can be used for fuel.
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we have seen corn being turned into ethanol, and it is a pretty big lobby that made that happen in the 1970's. methanol was an accepted fuel. we have all of that biomass out there. by thinning the forests we could prevent fires and sell the methanol. i would like to know what you think about getting methanol back on the list of acceptable fuels. the exhaust and emissions are exactly the same as ethanol and this is a big for-profit item. guest: clearly if we are going to treat these forest and make the more resilient, it is a lot better for the taxpayer if there is a market for the wood that you take out. in new england, think of all those wood stoves that are out there. incredibly efficient, and you see more and more communities
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and homes moving towards palletized wood. this kind of thinning that we are talking about can provide wood for that market. not only do they use fossil fuels. some people in new england use bunker oil. the carbon profile of using a renewable resource like trees to burn is so much better because you take the tree out, the other trees grow faster. they take up more carbon. where you open a space, new trees come up in its place. host: about 15 minutes left with tom martin, the c.e.o. of the american forest foundation. talking about resources used to fight fires, join the conversation.
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a recent you wrote talked about treating wildfires as a natural disaster. i wanted to play you some of the comments of jeff blake the senator from arizona who agrees with you. in the hearing last week with the forest service, here is what he had to say. [video clip] >> i disagree with the notion that we simply should move 30% of those anticipated cost off budget because it is convenient or because it creates additional flexibility for pre-spending the last increased spending -- additional flexibility for increased spending under the statutory budget caps, paying for one disaster while furthering our current fiscal disaster does not make sense. we need to be realistic about what we can do. we need to deal with the house as well and be realistic about what we can budget for and what we cannot. there is a solution to be found on the issue. i believe it involves flexibility but only after 100% of those anticipated will the
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mesh anticipate -- anticipateable suppression costs have been spent. host: the bottom line, are you looking for these bad wildfires to be treated like a hurricane or tornado? guest: absolutely. it strikes me 99% of the fires are relatively anticipated in terms of the costs. let's build that into the forest service budget. let's take a 10-year average and put that in the forest service budget. but the catastrophic ones like chief kidwell was talking about, like senator flake was referring to the catastrophic ones ought , to be dealt with the same way we do hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like. there is a disaster relief fund that is part of the budget system. for whatever reason, hurricanes are in and fires are not. that does not make sense to me. take the 70%, take that into consideration, and then take the
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other 30%, put it into the disaster relief fund, use those dollars which are in budget. it is not an off budget expense. it does not increase overall spending. host: are those under fema's budget? guest: the disaster relief fund is about a $12 million to $13 million piece. fema gets an appropriation out of that. last year it was about $6.2 billion. the rest of it is money that is not allocated yet we can as you -- because you do not know whether it will be a hurricane tornado, or earthquake. we take 30% of the anticipated fire cost and allow the forest service for the biggest fires to take the money out of that. you set a cap. you would not change forest service strategy on fighting fires, so you would not create
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new budget momentum. you would say, fires are a lot like earthquakes, treat them the same. host: let's hear from new mexico, chris. good morning. caller: thanks, tom. i have been sitting here trying to organize my thoughts so i can articulate my point as best i can in the limited time. here in new mexico, we have been in drought for some time. this year is not too bad but in another county just last year, i think the county commissioner took the initiative and took people, private individuals, and stepped onto national forest land and did their job, started thinning. i have been following the issues and it is not resolved yet because the lawyers have gotten involved because the forest service for some reason prefers litigation over cooperation. there are people who have
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decided to use their own personal funds and time and resources to go in and do the proper thing thin the forest because there land borders that. they have taken the initiative with the help of the county commissioner. this is still in litigation. can you comment? guest: i can. i would say there is a better model that is out there. i agree on the collaboration coming together to look at a landscape as we make the landscape more resilient against catastrophic fire. i think that is the right way to think about things. i think the right way to work it through is, federal land belongs to all of us and that means thinking together in a collaborative kind of way. you see in many places throughout the west folks that are working together conservation groups, private land owners that think about how do we have a landscape forest here that gives us all
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the benefits we want of clean water, wildlife habitat, without the risk of catastrophic fire? that is a very important point. i would say the forest service does not choose litigation as its first, second, or third alternative. it is more likely to be sued by somebody at an extreme who wants to do no cutting or too much cutting for the health of the forest. they are more often the defendants in this kind of suits. host: next up is richard, in the bronx, new york city. caller: i live in an urban area and when i hear about environmental issues such as forest fires, it seems very distant from me. i find that people in these urban settings are more focused on economic issues, and social justice issues.
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sometimes i feel like if we were to focus on environmental issues we -- our many bickering's would sort of update. i would like to ask you to explain how does something like a forest fire away from an urban setting actually have an impact on people who may live far away? i am assuming it does have an impact. guest: a terrific question. let's think about new york city. let's think about its water supply. new york city brought conservation easements in the catskills to protect the headwaters of your water supply. it is filtered naturally through that forest ited landscape that
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seems far away. but if fires go through like what has happened in denver, in flagstaff, the water utilities suddenly have increased cost because of the sedimentation and pollution that runs off into the collection area for it. that connection is very direct to new york, very clear. host: they just had a big fire in the adirondacks. they put it out a couple of days ago. guest: exactly. host: thomas is next up in aurora, illinois. caller: good morning everybody. tom, first i wanted you to understand that i have been to many, many national forests camping over the fourth of july for the past 10 years. i used to go to the rainbow gathering, and we would do a different forest in a different state, a national forest every year. i used to go out and spent 10 days in the forest and i love our forests. the point i want to make is that forensically speaking, everything is relative.
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the blessings of quality rain on the forest is crucial, which california and other places are proving. and the abuse that we, and kind, the mesh mankind -- the abuse that we, mankind allow the , corporations to dump chemicals into our water systems does affect what goes around comes around, the spiritual reality that god does not give up the blessings of a quality rain. there are natural laws but there are also spiritual laws. what goes around comes around. when we abuse water and allow bp and other corporations to dump mercury and other stuff into our rivers and streams and oceans, god does not give us the blessings. that is a forensic reality. host: thank you for your comment.
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guest: pretty interesting. he reflects how many of us think about our national forests places to hike, camp. unfortunately when this budget borrowing happens, where does that money come from? in the last couple years, it has come away from environmental cleanup in some of these forests. it has come away from our ability to hike or drive on the roads and experience these things because maintenance cannot be done, trails cannot be made safe. there is a real impact on all americans' ability to enjoy the forest because the budget cap gets blown through. we have to protect those places. we take the money that was appropriated, thoughtfully planned for, and move it somewhere else. host: chief tidwell speaking about the fires throughout the forecast indicates there is a 90% chance that this year's fire suppression costs will be
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between 794 million and 1.65 7 billion, with the median estimate of $1.225 billion. potentially seeing the diversion of other vital programs to prevent suppression. irish eyes says "it is not the grazing or tree cutting environmentalists oppose. they oppose the destruction of creatures or ecosystems caused by those." another individual says "but , didn't national monuments like grant escalante removed the roads into wilderness." "do we currently or should be condition forest service timber permits on helping to clear undergrowth in the at risk areas?" guest: the worst thing that can happen to a forest is a catastrophic fire.
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some fires are so badly burned through the organic material. the ability to provide clean water is deeply compromised. if we care about the environment, care about the ecosystem, we have got to care about trying to deal with this fire borrowing problem. that is why you get the national rifle association and the cr -- sierra club both saying the same thing, fixed this fire borrowing problem. it is getting in the way of us being able to protect the forests and enjoy them. host: here is a call from 10 in -- from california. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have spent plenty of time of -- in the woods and you get the most brush growth where the sun hits through the canopy of the floors. the brush will not grow really robustly unless it gets light.
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this whole idea of thinning, isn't that sort of counterproductive? it seems to exacerbate. when you get more like to the forest floor, you cause more brush growth and it is the brush that actually feeds the fires. isn't that true or am i off base? guest: you are partly right. brush can start the fire but the real danger comes when it moves up a fire ladder. it starts low, moves up the brush, then it hits smaller trees, midsized trees and gets , into the crown and canopy of the forest itself is when that happens, quite often you have the worst kind of catastrophic fire that kills the trees, scorches the soil itself, and makes the ability of that forest to recover really difficult. just removing the brush is not going to solve the problem but removing the brush, smaller,
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weaker trees in some cases, that kind of mixed approach is the one that is going to provide both the habitat that we want as well as make it more resilient against catastrophic fire. host: tom martin is c.e.o. of the american forest foundation. you can read more about their efforts. we appreciate you coming by. >> tomorrow, robert woodson looks at ways to reduce inner-city poverty and how poverty affects poor neighborhoods and the crime rate. after that, the controversy surrounding the training exercises scheduled to take place in western states this summer. plus your phone calls, facebook comments, and tweets. "washington journal" is live tuesday at 7:00 eastern on c-span.
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announcer: tonight we met up with the author who says we are in a new phase of human development and through robots and other technology, we are likely to enhance the human condition. >> robots is an interesting one because 2014 was the year of robot angst. i don't know if the day went by when i did not see some story about how robots are stealing jobs from humans, and that we are all going to end up out of work. on a daily basis, you hear stories about a robot who is a better bartender then humans and so on. the thing i find -- the point i think is missed is every prior revolution or advance in automation has resulted in better jobs for humans. we are worried about robots taking our jobs and having a hard time imagining what we will
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be doing even 10 years from now. i think history has shown we will figure out a way to combine with the robots to create new jobs that were previously unimaginable. announcer: tonight at 8:00 on "the communicators." announcer: tonight, comments from mitch mcconnell. he spoke in boston at the kennedy institute. you can see those comments tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. next, today's white house briefing with press secretary josh earnest. he talked about recent storms in the midwest, u.s. trade policy, and 2016 defense programs.
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mr. earnest: good afternoon everybody. hope you all had a good weekend. spent quality time your mother' s. let me do two quick things and then we will go to your questions. the president and the white house have been monitoring the storms that occurred over the weekend. the president is receiving updates. we know our officials in fema are at offices in kansas city and denton and are closely monitoring response efforts. at this point, we have not received official request for federal assistance. but we continue to be in close touch with state and local officials who do have the primary responsibility for responding to those storms. obviously, we are thinking about
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the communities affected. some quite violently overnight by these storms. we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers and continue to stand with them as they rebuild from the destruction they saw as a result of the weather. the second thing i want to point out is today is the last day for jessica who has served the president in a number of capacities including his campaign but also what the white house. she has been a fixture dealing with many of your inquiries including the affordable care act. she has demonstrated the kind of professionalism and grace and commitment to this cause that is something we all admire. she is going to move on to private sector opportunities. we wish her well as she does that. she is definitely going to be missed around my office. thank you, jessica, for your service. let's go to your questions. >> what changed since last friday's announcement of the
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saudi king's visit to the trip being called off? mr. earnest: the goal of the meeting the president has planned for camp david later this week is to discuss the best ways to deepen and modernize the important security relationship between the united states and our partners. the countries participating in the meeting have made decisions about who they believe is best positioned to represent their countries at the meeting. given the goals i have outlined, we agreed the right people will be attending and are confident we will have the right people around the table at camp david for discussing and acting on these priorities. as it relates to the travel plans of the king, i would refer you to his office for more information about his change in travel plans.
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there are a couple of things i can tell you about that. the first is there has been no concern raised by our saudi partners either before the change in travel plans or after. related to the agenda at camp david. i know there have been some speculation that this change in travel plans was an attempt to send a message to the united states. if so, that message was not received because all of the feedback we have received from the saudis has been positive. you will recall the secretary of state, john kerry, was in riyadh last week where he had the opportunity to meet with the king directly. the king and other senior members visited with the secretary and expressed satisfaction and even optimism about the possibilities of the cap david agenda -- camp david agenda. secretary kerry that with his
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counterparts in paris last week -- met with his counterparts in paris last week. coming out of those discussions, there was widespread agreement this would be a worthwhile session with the president of the united states and each of those countries indicated they were looking forward to it. i will close by pointing out saudi arabia will be represented at the meeting by the crown prince. he is the former interior minister. he is well-known to members of the president's national security team and the president himself because he has convened meetings with the president in the oval office two times over the last two years or so. he will be joined by the deputy crown prince, who happens to be the son of the king and is the chief defense official. obviously for the purposes of having a meeting about how to
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deepen our security cooperation with our partners in saudi arabia having the crown prince and deputy crown prince, both of whom have leadership responsibilities when it comes to providing for the security of saudi arabia, gives us confidence we will be able to have a robust discussion at camp david and also that we will be able to follow through on the commitments made in the context of the meeting. >> is it safe to assume the king has accepted the invitation at one point? mr. earnest: that is true. >> does the white house interpret this as a snub of any kind? mr. earnest: for the reason why the king changed his travel plans, i would refer you to saudi arabia. i think they would assure you the travel plans are unrelated to the agenda for camp david. that is based on private conversations the secretary has
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had with the king and other senior officials in saudi arabia. it is evident from the public statements we have seen from senior members of the saudi arabian national security team so far. we continue to be confident the senior officials who will be representing the interests of saudi arabia at the meeting will -- are empowered to not just represent the views of saudi arabia in the meeting but also to implement any decisions made in the context of the meeting. the president wanted to convene a discussion with our partners with the goal of modernizing and deepening our security cooperation with them. i will point out these members consider the security cooperation with the united states as integral to their own country's national security, so it is in the interest of these countries to send senior members of the national security team who can represent the views of their country at ensure they
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live up to any commitments they make in the context of the meeting. based on the list of attendees we have seen so far, we are confident that will occur. >> with the change in plans over the weekend that will leave only two out of the six rulers attending the summit at camp david. how does the white house see that? does that number present a snub to the white house? if not, why not? the sternest: i think -- mr. earnest: i think we have identified the word of the day. that was probably the word of the day before we started going through these questions, which is why am happy to talk to you about the. we continue to be confident the senior national security officials who can represent the interests of saudi arabia at the
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meeting and follow through on commitments made in the context of the meeting will be present and accounted for at the meeting. the the same is applied to the other countries. let me give you another example. the conference of abu dhabi is the commander of the military but is the principal executor between the united states when it comes to significant national security questions like this one. we continue to be completely confident that mohammed as the senior representative will be able to represent the interest of his country and ensure that any commitments he makes on behalf of his country will be
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fully and appropriately implemented. i would point out there is never a commitment from the -- from anyone other than mohammed the point is taking together -- we continue to be confident these are individuals that can represent the interests of their country. more importantly, the country's the delegations of confidence these of the appropriate individuals to participate in this meeting. we are seeking to reassure those nations about the importance of their security relationship with the u.s. and it is in their interest to make sure the right leaders are attending the meeting.
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>> secretary kerry's meeting. can you explain the utility of that? it seems pretty clear where the u.s. stands in respect -- mr. earnest: we have talked quite a bit about how complicated the relationship is between the u.s. and russia. there are a variety of areas where the u.s. has been able to successfully work with russia in pursuit of interests that benefit both of our countries. there have been a wide range of things. they have been an important partner in putting place the
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sanctions regime that would compel a run to the negotiating table and we have been appreciative of the role they have played in that effort. there is much discussion about the way the u.s. and russia was able to work together to dispose of syria's declared chemical weapons stock tile. that would not have been possible without the leadership of russia to convince assad regime to declare the chemical weapon stock tile that did highlight the strong working relationship between the u.s. and russia when it comes to pursuit of our mutual interests. we also have not been shy about identifying those areas where we have had disagreements with russia. that is on the issue of ukraine and the need to respect the
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sovereignty and territorial integrity of the intended nation. i don't have a preview of the specific meeting that secretary kerry will be convening in sochi but this relationship will be against the backdrop of his conversations. >> what is the common ground that russia and the u.s. have about syria? why is there reason for the talks? mr. earnest: when it comes to syria, the significant concern we had about the area declared chemical weapon stock files -- stockpile was it created a risk. when you are in a war-torn country like syria, there is a risk that extreme is could get their hands on the chemical weapons and proliferate them around the globe, putting our countries at risk. it was in the interest of the
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u.s. and russia to get the regime to acknowledge to chemical weapon stock tile existed and to engage in a broader international effort so those weapons were destroyed. >> what is the common ground the secretary of state is looking at ? mr. earnest: i don't want to leave you with the impression this will be the only thing they discuss. there are a lot of things on our mutual list of interests that it is clear that it is not in anybody's interest for this
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widespread chaos in syria. this is why we're able to build a coalition of 60 countries to degrade and destroy isil. because the prospects of these extremists etc. pushing save haven does pose the risk most immediately to countries and the regent. but it poses a risk to countries around the world. we have been able to work with russia in pursuit of that effort. we will include a discussion about the need for sovereignty and territorial discussion in ukraine. >> what is in it for syria? how does the civil war in syria hurt russia because it continues to leave the man they want in
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power in power? what is in it for russia? mr. earnest: it is not in their interest to be in a chaotic war-torn country. anytime you see that kind of violence and chaos in a country like syria, that raises significant sensor -- concern around the world. i think the president would be able to convey to you what he believes is a long list of risk and threat that was opposed by violent extremists. this counterterrorism area is an area we have been able to cool -- cooperate. >> has the president spoken to the king? mr. earnest: he has not. i would not be surprised at the
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president does have an opportunity to consult with him directly prior to the meetings. >> nothing specifically planned? mr. earnest: we will let you know if there's a conversation. >> he written the argument is gulf nations are sending the appropriate representatives but the president is still not meeting with the counterparts of is not not diminish the effectiveness of this summit? there is important work to be done to deepen and modernize a security relationship. having a senior security official from each of these countries and they way they can participate robustly in the discussions represent the interest of their country, and follow through with any commitments they make gives them confidence this will be a worthwhile session. that is the goal for each of these countries to strengthen.
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in the interest of these countries, we send the appropriate individuals that are participating in these discussions. >> is the president willing to offer any concessions? mr. earnest: if any sort of agreement like that were reached , these are partners of ours and we have an interest in the continued security cooperation we have with them. whether it is intelligence cooperation, counterterrorism efforts, or even enhancing the national defense of these countries, this is a move the u.s. has been invested in for some time. this will be the substance of the discussions underway at camp david and i don't have anything to preview in terms of what
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outcomes we will see. i do believe that the appropriate individuals representing these countries will be in attendance. >> president obama said senator warren's arguments don't stand the test of scrutiny. what is he specifically saying? mr. earnest: they released the text of the interview so i think you get a good sense of what the president meant if you look at the transcript. >> is he worried that by having his public dispute you might have alienated some of the democratic lawmakers he wants to get on board? mr. earnest: i am not worried about that at all and i don't think the president is either. he believes democrats should be supportive of a trade agreement that would be in the best interest of our economy and of
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middle-class families across the country. >> if the president is so confident is a good deal, he should declassify the test and let people see it before asking congress to fix it. why not declassify it now? mr. earnest: senator warren is wondering what she is voting on so she can walk to the room established on capitol hill by the u.s. trade representative and read the latest version of the negotiated document. there is no need for this false criticism that the members of congress are not aware of what is being negotiated. if they are not aware, it is because they have failed to take the responsibility to read the document. it is provided to them. the president believes it is an important part of his commitment to reach this agreement. those who do understand what is being negotiated have a reason
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to be supportive of it and i think the best example i can point you to is to take a look at the vote in the senate finance committee. when carefully considered, there were hearings that were held and i assume many members of the time to review what was negotiated. that is a small sample size but i think it is an indication to democrats undecided that there is ample reason for them to consider why this particular agreement would be in the best interest of our economy and middle-class families. >> on trade, are you confident [no audio] mr. earnest: this is something that will not pass on party lines.
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it will not reach the threshold if only republicans are supporting it. what we need is the bipartisan coalition. the president has been trying to do his part to make the case to democrats, some of whom started out reluctant. we have talked quite a bit about the reflexive of all -- effects of opposition that exist about trade agreements. the case the president made is very similar to the case the president made in public that he has made a strong case about why you believe this is in the best interest of our economy short-term and long-term. that is what has led him to strongly support. we are hopeful democrats will keep an open mind. >> is he making any calls to
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lawmakers today? mr. earnest: the president has been in conversations with members of congress, mostly democrats but some republicans. i don't have any detailed information to convey to you about those communications. mr. earnest: on the defense bill i know the house republicans are trying to reinsert some language into that bill that would delay some regulations placed on lenders and military members. i wonder if that is something that would prompt the white house to issue an official veto. mr. earnest: we have raised significant concerns about a variety of provisions included in the defense authorization act. you identified another one. there is a provision in this bill that would protect loopholes that allow predatory lenders to target military families. it is almost too difficult to
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believe you would have a member of congress looking to carry water for the payday loan industry and allow them to continue to target in a predatory fashion military families who in many cases are already enabled herbal financial state. in some cases, their families that have a loved one deployed overseas. as they're trying to make ends meet, to allow lenders to target them is something i cannot imagine earning the majority support. >> [indiscernible] is the white house working to
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kill the current supervision? what does the something the white house would need to threaten a veto on? mr. earnest: we have indicated we believe there a better way for us to resolve concerns related to currency. the administration over the last six years has tried to address a wide range of currency issues with other countries through the designated international forum for negotiating these kinds of issues. the u.s. has been engaged in conversations with other countries to talk to them about exchange rates. there are a couple examples i can site. china's exchange rate is up new 30% on an effective basis since
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2010. the fact is we have not seen japan intervene in the foreign exchange market for more than three years. that is an indication our advocacy through these multilateral meetings has been effective in a way that is protecting american businesses and workers from some unfair practices. the concern we have about some of the approaches currently being discussed is that they could be used to effectively undermined the independence of the federal reserve. this is why we have had a robust conversation on capitol hill about the best way to move forward. we will continue to do that. i'm not ready to pass judgment on any legislative proposal at this point. our concerns about some of the proposals are well known.
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>> something you would threaten to veto? mr. earnest: i am not willing to make that commitment at this point. we have been very clear about what we will like to see. we are hopeful we can build bipartisan support to get it passed. >> is the white house disappointed in how the saudis handle the king's decision not to come? you said earlier he said he was coming and to find out days before the summit is supposed to take place would seem to me to be a disappointment for the white house. i'm curious if you feel like they are handling it properly. mr. earnest: we are focused on making sure we have the proper senior-level representation from each of these countries to participate in a discussion about how to deepen and modernize the security relationship between the u.s. and our partners.
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around the table will be representatives of these counties empowered to represent the views of their country and ensure they follow through on any commitments those countries make. that is the bottom line. that is what we have received and the president is looking forward to the meeting. >> is in its air to say the saudis are concerned about the iran nuclear deal and is it possible this is part of a reason why the king is not coming? >> they have said the reason for the change in the king's travel schedule is not related at all to the substance of the meeting. i think they have indicated he would prefer to remain in saudi arabia to monitor the limitation of -- to monitor yemen.
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there is a specific statement put out by the saudi soon after the announcement of the framework in which they said they have a hope for an agreement that we did the strengthening of security and stability in the region. the early indications-- >> is that an endorsement of the framework? mr. earnest: it is an indication that they recognize there is a significant national security benefit for saudi arabia in preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon all stop is also an indication they are open to the argument the president has made that the best way for us to prevent a nuclear weapon is through diplomacy. we were encouraged by that statement. i think they would be quick to
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tell you may want to evaluate the final agreement. that is something still being negotiated by our experts and what we are striking -- striving to achieve is a final agreement that reflects the broad political framework announced early april. >> getting back to the political aspect, the president in india cut short that trip so he could go to saudi arabia and pay his respects to the following king and meet the new monarch -- fallen king and meeting new monarch. the secretary of state was there this last week. i am just curious -- i would assume this was at least a
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surprise. is the president disappointed? mr. earnest: no. the president did cut short his visit to india to make a stop in saudi arabia while the nation was mourning the loss of their king. i think many of you all reporting on that visit noted it was an important symbolic gesture that reflected the deaths of the relationship between the u.s. and saudi arabia. on the back end of that visit was a working meeting the president convened with the king. the meeting the president has scheduled for later this week is not symbolic. it is one where the press and anticipates having a specific and robust discussion about how to deepen and modernize our security relationship. the proper leadership will be attending that meeting.
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these are individuals who are empowered to represent the interests of their this -- their countries and ensure any commitments they make will be of limited. it is a very practical, specific reason or this particular meeting. that is why we are less interested in the symbolic messages and much more interested in the actual discussions that will take was later this week. >> there has been an article out about the facts and circumstances involved in the osama bin laden mission. the white house said the article is baseless and false. i am curious, are the facts that the public generally understands
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about the killing of osama bin laden -- is that story essentially what happened? are there any elements of the story that perhaps are not direct in the public's mind? mr. earnest: certainly not that i am aware of. i can tell you that the obama white house is not the only one to observe that the story is riddled with inaccuracies and outright also its -- outright falsehoods. the deputy of the cia said every sentence was wrong. a security analyst for cnn put it best. he described the story as based on reading it, what is true in the story isn't new and what is new in the story isn't true. i thought that was a good way of
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describing why no one here is concerned about it. april. >> i wanted to ask you about baltimore last night. i reported on it. [indiscernible] [laughter] mr. earnest: you are a slave to your profession. talk about getting the real story. we couldn't just cover that concert from afar, we needed to be there in the front row. >> i was close. before the concert and the rally for peace, the message is meaningful for urban areas and those who have had issues with police.
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prince was the one who put this on last night. he said the system is broken and needs to be fixed. realistically, what can be fixed before this president leaves office as he has put a spotlight on this issue? mr. earnest: the present has knowledge a couple things. the vast majority of our law enforcement officers do a very difficult job very well. these are individuals who lead chosen a very honorable profession is not a calling -- if not a calling to be bullied to put on the uniform every day and prepared to put their lives on the line. that is something worthy of our respect and the president will be participating in the national peace officers memorial this week. he will have an opportunity to talk about that more. what is also true is there are some isolated situations where
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people for justifiable reasons believe the law is not being fairly implemented. that is the force of some concern. that does see to some distrust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect. that gap in trust makes police work more dangerous and it makes it easier for crime to infiltrate and is communities. the interests of the police or community are being served when there is a rupture between them. that is why you saw the president convene a task force on 21st-century policing to bring community leaders and law enforcement officials together to engage in a discussion of best practices. what are some of the steps taken
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in communities to enhance trust between local law-enforcement and the community? that is one example of how the president believes we can start to address some of these issues. what is also true is that these kinds of distrusts have been around for a long time and they're not the kind of things that will get solved overnight but what the president is confident in is if we have these people that enter these professions for the right reasons and we have people of goodwill who are leaders in the community willing to step forward and work with police to try to bridge their differences that can have a material impact on the success while enforcement has in building strong relationships and preventing crime. >> those statements are echoed throughout the nation not just
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by superstar entertainers. what, realistically come within the next two years, can be done to start to break the cycle going on for decades and maybe even centuries? what will we do in the next two years? what will be expected as the administration is winding down? mr. earnest: i think there are very specific set of recommendations and principles outlined in the task force and 21st-century policing. it is a very tangible matter. that is what communities can begin to do. we can have local elected leaders and leaders in law enforcement come together around implementing some of those practices. in terms of a tangible contribution to addressing those problems, i would refer you to that document. what is also true is that we
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cannot allow all of this to be boiled down to a long force the problem. the kind of distrust and violence we see in some communities directed toward von enforcement dashboard law enforcement is indicative of a much broader and more deep rooted set of concerns and the commitment to trying to address the economic inequality and economic justice in many of these communities will have an impact on our ability to try to lower the crime rate and strengthen the relationship with law enforcement, whether it is making sure every child has access to high-quality early childhood education or that every kid that wants to go to college can find a way to pay for it, ensuring there is job
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training opportunities available for those who want to get some skills needed in the workforce and prepare themselves to make a good living. it can be something as simple as raising the minimum wage. now, if you are trying to raise a family of four by working full time and on the which, you are raising that family below the poverty line. these are the kinds of steps that will be implemented overnight and they will not be making a difference overnight but they can start moving us in the right direction. >> will you talk to us about any conversations he is having with the mayor in certain problematic cities or mayors as a whole when it comes to the summer and trying to lessen or prevent what we saw this spring and last summer. mr. earnest: lastly, the present
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have the opportunity to visit the conference call with a number of mayors who are meeting in philadelphia from across the country. we were talking about this exact problem. is that a lot of time talking about what they can do to better meet the needs of the young people and their communities. this is something the administration is focused on and it is not just a white house thing. there are officials like secretary duncan and valerie jarrett have been engaged in conversations with mayors about how to address this problem. i can have someone follow up with you to get you more specific information. >> has the president spoke into elizabeth warren in the last few weeks since this war of words came between them?
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if not, when was the last time they spoke and lastly, has the opposition of the prominent liberal democratic figure complicated his ability to attract democratic lawmakers? mr. earnest: i am not in position to detail every conversation the president has with members of congress. i'm not going to get into the details. i am not aware of specific opposition's he has had with her recently. -- conversations he has had recently. it is possible he may have had a conversation with her i am not aware of. as it relates to his effort to make the case and win the support of democrats both on
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capitol hill and across the country, we will continue to make an aggressive case. the president has made a powerful case about why anybody who is focused on advancing the interest of middle-class families will take a close look and be supportive of this kind of trade agreement. those who are particularly concerned about the negative impact recent trade agreements have had a middle-class families wouldn't knowledge that failing to engage in the asia-pacific and declining to support these partnerships will lock in the status quo. those countries that have saw two invest in countries of lower labor standards are countries that have already star -- that of already left. we need to level the playing field. if we can raise working standards and other countries it will give them an incentive to give us a chance.
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we have the most dedicated hardest working workers in the world and the most aggressive entrepreneurs, the best colleges and universities. a system that will allow innovators who are willing to follow the rules to have a genuine opportunity to succeed. those are the kinds of environments we can offer that gives us a significant competitive edge over the rest of the world. >> he is singling out her and her criticism. it is elizabeth warren who he feels he needs to address publicly. mr. earnest: i have to look at the transcript. as it relates to the specific interview on friday, he was asked directly about the senator's comments and that is what prompted the response. there's recent polling data to indicate the presidents message
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is having an impact. the latest poll published last week indicated there is now a plurality of americans that believe a free trade helps the u.s. that is no indication -- an indication people are open to the argument the president is making. he will continue to make that case to members of congress. we did see that when a vote was taken on the most progressive trade promotion authority legislation by the senate finance committee that a majority of democrats and republicans supported it. that makes us optimistic. >> with the summit this week would it be better if king
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solomon were here? are you saying it would make no difference if he shows up or not? mr. earnest: what will make the summit successful is ensuring we have representatives of each of the countries that can represent their countries in a discussion and follow through with any commitments they make. we have those representatives around the table at camp david when the meetings begin thursday. >> the president as tory asleep -- notoriously -- he said publicly he gets bored by summits. that is one heads of state are with him. what i am asking is why does he believe a summit in which four of the nations will not even send heads of state will be as important as a summit where summits before he said even with heads of state present, you
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don't get that much done. why not just send the defense secretary? mr. earnest: i think the reason for that is the countries participating come i can assure you they understand significance of the summit and the importance of their security relationship with the u.s. that is why they are sending anybody. what we see is they are sending representatives of their country at a level appropriate in terms of being able to represent the views of their country and follow through on any commitments made in the context of the meeting. that is looking president is looking forward to, a substitute, legitimate discussion of these important issues. iem sure there will be plenty of pictures taken so don't have to get our news photographer friends worried about it that this is not just a photo op. it is an opportunity to have a
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discussion about how to deepen and modernize the security relationships. while we certainly value that relationship, i can tell you those countries understand that relationship is critical to their existence. >> the biggest issue for soddy arabia immediately is yemen. they announce just today they would accept the cease-fire. to what degree of confidence does this administration have in what will be achieved during that time? mr. earnest: i am confident this will be something discussed at camp david. this is a source of a lot of concern among the countries that they see this instability and chaos inside yemen as a security threat to countries in the region. they are concerned about destabilizing impacts.
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that is a source of some concern . i'm confident this will be discussed. what we up to achieve is badly needed humanitarian need to those who have been caught in the crossfire in yemen. all of the chaos has a terrible impact on the humanitarian situation there and we know we're party scene reports of food shortages and fuel shortages and other things critical to daily life and we have been very concerned for some time about the humanitarian toll this violence and chaos is taking on the population. we are hopeful over the course of this five days that many of those needs will be met. there is one other part to your question. >> you didn't say anything about the cease-fire in the context of
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a providing any springboard for political resolution. do you see it as such? mr. earnest: we were concerned with the violence there for some time. we had urged all sides to get started with all party negotiations led by the u.n.. the u.n. representative to yemen was here at the white house the last couple of weeks meeting with members of our national security team to talk about this important role. what is clear is that the violence we see there now is not going to address the political differences that exist in that country. we will need all parties to set aside the violence and engage in critical negotiations to try to resolve differences. the u.n. has offered to step in and facilitate those conversations with other agreements that have been established. we are hopeful that in the
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context of this agreement, there is possibility that all parties could begin critical negotiations. the point of the cease-fire is to address, give the committee the opportunity to address the dire humanitarian need. >> what did he mean by senator warren is a politician like anybody else? mr. earnest: i think he means she is making a political case. >>they're having a political debate. we are having a political, robust debate. we feel good about the progress we have made in that debate. we have gotten a majority of republicans and democrats to support this proposal. we see a plurality of americans
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is open to the argument the president is making about the opportunity that exists by opening up a more overseas market. >> is he implying she is insincere? mr. earnest: i think he was blunt about it that some of her facts are wrong. there is a disagreement that they have on this. the preston is also confident that those democrats were willing to set aside their opposition to anything that has trade associated with it and consider whether or not this proposal is in the best interest of american workers that we are optimistic about our opportunity -- about our ability to get support and votes. >> would you say in the house you are further ahead of that venue were two weeks ago? mr. earnest: it is principally hard to say because i'm not the designated vote counter.
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i can tell you that -- what they say is the conversations the president has been having with members of congress has been useful. there have been democrats who have been willing to set aside their reflexive opposition to anything that has trade associated with it and consider the argument the president has made. >> if you can identify one of those, let me know. mr. earnest: my guess it is this something that will be clear when we have an opportunity to take a vote. i think this is a case we will continue to make up until the built. >> [indiscernible] senator warren said she has read
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it. you were not aware of that? when she is talking about advocating for transparency, one question she is asking is if the draft is such a persuasive case why is the president not advocating the language be publicly available? mr. earnest: because it is not final. nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. when the agreement is reached there will be a 60 day period where everyone will have an opportunity to view the final agreement before the president signs it. utterly part of how this works. there will be full transparency for the american public for two months prior to the president signing the agreement. what is also true is from there
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congress will have an opportunity to consider it in any of those congress takes in terms of this trade agreement will be done with the public full knowledge of exactly what is included in the trade agreement. right now, the negotiations are still under way and it wouldn't make sense to make public the documents. >> even if public understanding might possibly weigh in on the votes that lawmakers might fill comfortable casting? mr. earnest: before members of congress have to vote on the trade agreement, there will be ample opportunity for the american public to review it. they will have an opportunity to review it prior to the president signing. >> switching gears, presidential fundraising potentially for the democratic nominee.
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i think the library announcement might be tomorrow. the obama foundation is actually sending out support for what will be aggressive fundraising. can i review the president does intend to participate in fund-raising or the presidential library for the foundation? mr. earnest: i will have to check on that for you. under the foundation has indicated they expect to live up to the commitments he president made in the context of his campaign for disclosure and transparency when it comes to donations. i think with not excepting donations will the president is in office. there also indicated a commitment to disclosing all donations above a $250 level.
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>> because hillary clinton-- for the present heaven and the event to raise money for super pac's for a democratic nominee? mr. earnest: we can get back to you. >> what is the president going to talk about our georgetown tomorrow? mr. earnest: it will be an opportunity for the president and the context of this ongoing conference at georgetown university to talk about what more we can do in this country to ensure everybody is getting a fair shot and making sure that there are commonsense things we
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can do to expand opportunity for everybody are things we can follow through on. whether that is raising minimum wage or ensuring every child has access to a high-quality preschool or ensuring that the cost of a college education doesn't prevent a hard-working, talented student from preparing for an economy. it is all consistent with the president's view that the primary goal of the present semester policy agenda is expanding opportunity for every american. >> it has been widely reported that several nations in the gcc will but to say structured, written statement, out of thursday's meeting about security operations. as the white house share the enthusiasm that is something that should come out of the meeting? mr. earnest: i can tell you the goal of the meeting is to have a
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robust and specific discussion about steps that can be taken to modernize and deepen security cooperation. >> you said earlier it wasn't a snub to king solomon wasn't coming and he wouldn't characterize it as being disappointed. was the invitation extended to him at of courtesy? mr. earnest: there was an invitation to saudi arabia to participate in the summit and that was up to and including the king. he initially committed to participating and informed us friday evening he would not be able to do so. that said, we continue to be pleased that the crown prince and the deputy crown prince will be in attendance. i understand there will be senior officials from the saudi
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national security apparatus participating in the meeting. what we would like to see at the end of the day are representatives from these countries that can articulate the interest and point of view of their country in the meeting and follow through on any commitment made in the meeting and we are confident we have the appropriate level of representation from saudi arabia in the meeting. >> hillary clinton said last week that she would like to expand on something that the president says he has done as much as he could do. she would like to see protection from deportation of the parents of dreamers. does the white house support this position? mr. earnest: the president says he strongly believes we need to bring greater accountability to our broken immigration system. he announced steps in november that he believes or the extent
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of the executive authority could exercise to try to bring the much-needed accountability to the immigration system. there are aspects of that announcement we have moved forward with implementing. there are other aspects that are ensnared in a legal dispute. the doj is representing the interest of the administration and federal government in that proceeding. we continue to have full confidence in the strength of the legal arguments they make. we have been very clear about exactly what legal authorities the president had invested in the office of the presidency to make changes to our immigration system in a way that is consistent with bringing accountability to that system. we continue to believe that will have a positive impact on our economy and on our budget deficit. we believe it is consistent with our values.
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>> it is fair to say this is not with the president envision when he made the announcement? mr. earnest: as it relates to the question someone asked earlier, the goal was not a symbolic picture with the leaders of five other countries. frankly, what we're looking for is a more direct conversation about how to deepen and modernize our security relationships with those countries. are you smiling because i said frankly answered to say something else? >> does the lower level of this meeting also lower our expectations for recovering it? because there are not leaders
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present who perhaps can sign off on some of the things that they are asking for? mr. earnest: i appreciate you asking that question because it is what is important. we believe the representatives aren't as efficient level to sign up on the commitments made in the meeting. we believe we will have the representation necessary to have a robust specific, detailed discussion about our security cooperation with each country. and that and the commitments the countries make will be the kinds of commitments they can follow through on because of the sufficient level of representation at the meeting. >> [indiscernible] does he feel it is too early for him to go to cuba? is he waiting for a specific move from arlene castro? mr. earnest: there is an ongoing
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diplomatic effort to normalize the relations. there are some important diplomatic works that need to be done. the president did enjoy the opportunity he had to have a pretty blunt and direct conversation with president castro about additional steps that we need to see cuba make the better reflect a country that protects the universal human rights of its people and this is a strong case the president made in the context of that meeting. there are discussions ongoing on the human rights issue and on the range of other steps we can take a charge normalize relations. the president indicated he does not envision a trip to cuba anytime in the near future. i was certainly -- i certainly would not rule it out over the course of the next year. >> you guys just approved arctic
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drilling. mr. earnest: i am not aware of that news. you just barked out arctic drilling. [laughter] mr. earnest: why don't we find out what the announcement is and we will get back to you? is there a more fully formed question to ask? -- formed question you would like to ask? >> this is more than a some ballot -- symbolic meeting. would it be more symbolic if the king showed up? mr. earnest: i am saying the president intends for this to be a working meeting. at the only thing we're concerned about was symbolism then the only thing lou be focused on is whether or not the person with the highest ranking title was in attendance. because we are actually focused
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on more specific details, we are interested in making sure individuals participating are individuals who are empowered and sufficiently equipped with the ability to represent the interest of their country and follow through with any commitments. >> after the interim agreement the president spoke about the possibility of iran joining the community of nations. that gets to the anxiety many gulf nations feel about iran possibly in the region. -- iran's in the region. as a present understand those inside his -- those anxieties? mr. earnest: the president has been blunt about the fact is it it is important for us to reach this agreement that would prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. we don't think these
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conversations will lead to a satisfactory resolution when it comes to the long list of bad behavior around engages in. we have seen them support a terror group, engage in destabilizing activity in the region and around the world, including in yemen. right now, iran is unjustly retaining three or four americans. we believe this individual should be released. we continue to harbor significant concerns about the and tyson medic rhetoric -- about the and tyson medic -- anti-simetic remedies. we will continue to have these concerns even if a diplomatic agreement about their nuclear program can be reached and it is
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one we know is shared by our other partners and allies in the region. >> a couple more on the summit. has it been worth it? has it been successful? mr. earnest: i would refer you to the saudis and department of defense. the goal of supporting the ongoing effort was to try to help saudi arabia resolve the security situation they were concerned about along the seven border. it has had a positive impact that what we have said all along is the only way to completely resolve the situation inside yemen is a political dialogue incorporating all parties. that is why we have aggressively pushed all parties to engage in the dialogue. >> did he ever indicate that he
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would be coming? ken: i'm not sure of the status of his invitation but i will be able to all of with you on that before thursday. >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell spoke about his relationship with president obama in an event yesterday. obama sends mcconnell a note on loretta lynch. david jackson writes, who says they don't get along? the senate majority leader said that republicans and the obama administration are working together on free trade and that the president sent him a nice note for his confirmation vote on behalf of attorney general loretta lynch. in a speech in boston, mcconnell referred to the past relationship between the late liberal senator from


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